Elginerpeton is a genus of stegocephalian (stem-tetrapod), the fossils of which were recovered from Scat Craig, Scotland, in rocks dating to the late Devonian Period (Late Frasnian stage, 375 million years ago). The only known fossil has been given the name Elginerpeton pancheni.[1]

Temporal range: Late Devonian, 375 Ma
Elginerpeton BW.jpg
Life restoration of Elginerpeton
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Family: Elginerpetontidae
Genus: Elginerpeton
Ahlberg, 1995
Type species
Elginerpeton pancheni
Ahlberg, 1995

Elginerpeton is known from skeletal fragments including a partial shoulder and hip, a femur, tibia (lower hind limb), and jaw fragments. The holotype is a lower jaw fragment estimated at 40 centimeters in total length.[1] The total body is estimated to have measured about 1.5 m (5 ft) in length. Upon its description, Elginerpeton was allied with Obruchevichthys in the family Elginerpetontidae.[1]

A biomechanical analysis of stegocephalian jaws has indicated that Elginerpeton had an unusual feeding habit among tetrapod relatives. Its jaws were thin, and plotted as the most susceptible to high stresses among the sample group. However, the heavy sculpturing of the bone may have reduced these stresses. It also had a high bite force, third overall compared to Crassigyrinus (second) and Megalocephalus (first). These two features combined indicated that the jaw was best suited for quick, strong bites for hunting small yet fast prey.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Ahlberg, Per E. (1995). "Elginerpeton pancheni and the earliest tetrapod clade". Nature. 373 (6513): 420–425. doi:10.1038/373420a0.
  2. ^ Neenan, James M.; Ruta, Marcello; Clack, Jennifer A.; Rayfield, Emily J. (2014-04-22). "Feeding biomechanics in Acanthostega and across the fish–tetrapod transition". Proc. R. Soc. B. 281 (1781): 20132689. doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.2689. ISSN 0962-8452. PMC 3953833. PMID 24573844.

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